Friday, December 20, 2013

FROZEN IN MY LAP

After my adventure propping the bus stop against a light pole, I got on the bus and calmly prepared myself for a long ride to work.  All was well until, a few stops later, a large man in a large coat got on the bus and sat directly in front of me.

It only took a moment after he sat down for the snow that had been perched on the hood of his coat to gracefully descend into my lap.  Onto my pants.  Onto the screen of my phone, where it made pretty rainbow patterns until I brushed it off.

I looked at the man like this


but he took no notice.

I decided it was best to get over it.

And then I got over it.

See, that's the difference between deciding to do something and actually doing it.  I read that in Reader's Digest once.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

FROZEN TO THE GROUND

This morning, having heard yesterday the prophecies of doom regarding the weather, I girt my loins and headed to my habitual bus stop, where, to my consternation, I discovered the bus stop sign was lying flat on the ground.

I would have taken a picture, but it was too cold, and I didn't want to take my gloves off.  You'll just have to take my word for it.

I glanced around--it was not yet fully light out, and I considered my options for being noticed by a bus driver despite not having a blue sign and a green sign directly above my head.

Imagine there is only one green sign on the pole, and that it says "200."  And that the sign is lying on the ground.  And that it is snowy and foggy and dark and cold and wet and solstitial outside.
I decided that I could prop the sign up on a nearby light pole (pretend there's a nearby light pole in the picture above).  Since I could do this without taking off my gloves, I reached down to lift up the sign.

Then I realized the sign was frozen to the ground.

The oft-mentioned-yesterday freezing rain had apparently arrived after the sign had fallen to the ground, because the signpost was encapsulated in the layer of ice that covered the sidewalk.  It took several tries, and several grunts, to get it out of the ice, but I managed it.

The next challenge was to balance the sign on the light pole so that it would stay upright.  The signpost was heavier than I thought it was, and it wasn't as though my footing were exactly firm and unchanging, but I eventually got the sign lined up the way I wanted.  I let go, and for one tantalizing second the sign stayed upright . . . but then it started tilting to the right, clearly intent on returning to its icy slumber from which I had so rudely disturbed it.

I grabbed the sign again, placed it on the pole with more feeling, and the second time it stayed.  I planted myself next to it more assertively than usual and fixed my piercing glance on the theoretically approaching bus.  It came a few moments later, and my plan mostly worked--the bus driver didn't realize I was waiting at a stop until she was almost on top of me, but she did stop a little bit in front of me, and I was able to board the bus without undue aggravation.

What do you know, I even made it to work this morning.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

TREASURES FROM THE INTERNET (9)

Got a few for you tonight.

Our first treasure comes from a Trib (gasp!) article about how UTA is being used as a model for other transit agencies--which, frankly, it is--to which was appended the following extremely astute comment:


(I think I may have completely weirded out one of my co-workers at a meeting recently when she took something I said seriously.  My sarcasm is only getting drier as I get older.)

  • You are entitled to your opinion about the bonuses; however, you are objectively wrong about the "do nothing" part.
wikipedia
  •  Nothing.
sltrib (gasp!), from an article shockingly titled "Flying Red Eye?  TRAX No Help"
  •  Nothing.
dailyutahchronicle
  • Also, nothing.

  • I am standing in front of . . . nothing.
UTA
  • Whole lotta nothing up in here.
  • Maybe you should get your eyes checked.  Or your frontal lobe.
 Then there was the time that your local state senator got sideswiped by a UTA bus and tweeted them about it.  Our lovely online commenters had some choice things to say about it




Finally, we have this:

fox13now.com
I haven't had much good to say on this blog about Provo, but my respects to Mayor Curtis and the city council for tackling this painful, unglamorous, and extremely important issue.  In honor of this ordinance being passed, I would like to share this:


This is a picture of me eating my hat.  I never thought something like that would happen in Provo.

Good night!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

GRATUITOUS PICTURES (4)

Last week in my Sugar House-ing I discovered a sign filled out by someone who cares about grammar:

AN
My question is, why couldn't you just fudge a little?  "It's a 9 minute walk to Sugarhouse Park."  Then everyone's happy when they get there a minute early, if they're even keeping track . . .


Monday, December 9, 2013

ESS

Last Saturday, as you statistically already know, the ESS line opened in South Salt Lake/Sugar House.  I decided to brave the crowds and the cold, despite my aversion to cold -- and happy people* -- since this would be the last grand opening UTA would have for the foreseeable future.

I got on the ESS line at Central Pointe.  I was concerned that not that many people would be on the train, since it's harder to get there in a car than the other lines that opened recently, which rules out the crowd that thinks that trains are cool but cars are still for getting around most of the time.**  There were quite a lot of people on the train, though.

dedicated streetcar ridErS Stand all the way to fairmont
It looked like a good time was had by all, even though it was cold.

dedicated christmas carolErS Stand by the heater
dedicated dietErS Stay away from maplebacon donuts
Fairmont Station is next to Fairmont Park, which looks pleasant enough; the aquatic center is also right there, and numberous places to eat and otherwise spend money nearby (the shops east of 1100 East are one of our favorite places to hang on a summer's evening before the last 21 leaves at 8:59 p.m.***).  So we'll definitely visit from time to time--who knows, we may eventually live over there.

I think the streetcar corridor has the potential to become quite pleasant (temperatures above 30 will definitely help . . .) and I'm excited to watch the area grow and develop.  I'm okay with a modest beginning, both to the ESS Line and to the streetcar network I am confident will eventually return to Salt Lake, etc.  And I'm okay with no more grand openings for a while.  We move slowly, we stumble, but we are making steps toward a truly marvelous transit system.

I think we'll get there sooner than we think.

*I don't have an aversion to happy people.  Mostly.
**I realize that most of my friends, as well as and including most of my blog readership, fall into this category--all I'm saying is that you were less likely to visit the ESS line last Saturday, not that you're bad people.
***I was going to say "just after 9:00 p.m."  Then I looked at the new schedule and realized I had to correct myself.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

LOOKING FOR REASONS NOT TO DRIVE?

I've got 4.  All of which broke in the last 24 hours or so.

ksl.com

twitter.com

kutv.com

desnews.com

Links to these articles here, here, here, and here.

Also, this:


desnews.com
 Link here.

Monday, December 2, 2013

BEATEN TO IT

Recently one of my cousins Facebooked me



There are 39 pages of definitions for "Facebook" on UD.  I could keep going . . .
about going to the Airport on FrontRunner.

I can't say it's unusual--this happens to me through one communication channel or other about once a week.  But when one of my first cousins contacts me

there are still 69 others

so I guess it's no surprise that I was beaten to the punch this time by another cousin.  The conversation isn't really amusing in and of itself, except that it was my cousin who answered the question and touted the benefits of FrontRunner, not me:

I basically just showed up for a few minutes and left

This leads me to wonder if my philoprogenitive attitude toward transit is not all acquired; some of it may be inherited.

Go ahead, cousins
tell me all about it

I know you're out there

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

EXPRESS YOURSELF

A short while ago I was approaching the FrontRunner tracks at an at-grade crossing, when the gates started to come down and the dreaded dinging began.  It was not a FrontRunner train--it was a UP train, which means

We could be here for a while.

There were a couple of people approaching the crossing from the other direction, who, when the saw the train, were possessed of a sudden urgency to get through the crossing in front of it rather than wait for it to go by.  Like most Utahans, they decided that saving 15 minutes (at the most) was more important than their continued survival.

As they ran across, one of them gave me a smug smile and said,

I'm not gonna wait for that s***

I merely cocked an eyebrow at him, because, first of all, learn to express yourself; and second, how many people have to get hit by trains before you stop darting in front of them?  (One more, apparently.) His smile melted into slightly embarrassed confusion.

My ability to not smile back is not one of my more endearing traits.  As I slowly grow my soul back this year, I've tried to reserve it for situations where death or serious injury may be involved.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

HOTELS

The other day my co-worker came up to me and said, "You'll find this interesting."

(Spoiler alert: it was about transit.)

"This" was a hotel bill for a fancy-schmancy hotel in downtown Salt Lake, which will credit you $5 for showing your TRAX ticket at the front desk when you check in.

(For some reason, it seems like I should have a picture of the hotel bill here as proof, or at least as a visual aid.  But my co-worker didn't offer, and I didn't ask.)

Apparently it costs less for the hotel to reimburse you for your TRAX fare than it does to run a shuttle up to the airport to transport you.  And by "apparently," I mean obviously.

Cool.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

EASIER THAN YOU MIGHT THINK

A while ago (my backlog of posts is getting longer . . .) I was at Salt Lake Central waiting for a bus.  There's nothing inherently unusual about this.

The 519 pulled in, as the 519 has been known to do, and an elderly man got off who had difficulty walking.  As he was walking from the drop-off place to the pick-up place, the 200 pulled away, as the 200 has been known to do.  He walked up to the benches under the awning and addressed the congregation:

"Damn.  I needed that 200.  Now I have to wait an hour."

(At first I thought he was exaggerating due to extreme bitterness toward UTA, on the order of people in Eagle Mountain screaming that it now takes them 4 hours one way to get to work.  Fortunately, I understood him better as I kept listening.)

"Oh, there'll be another 200 in 15 minutes, sure; it's the 9 that comes once an hour.  So if I catch the next 200 I'll be sitting there at State and Ninth for 45 minutes while the bus driver sits at the TRAX station."

I felt sympathy for this man.  He was already undertaking a three-part journey, and a missed connection makes nothing better.  Especially when you miss it by inches.

But as I thought about it, I realized that there were several ways that his journey could have gone more easily: he could have caught TRAX at Arena and got on the 9 at 900 South or Central Pointe.  He could have switched to the 200 on 300 West or 200 South.  Both of these would have required crossing the street, but certainly not more walking than he had to do at Central.  He probably could have walked over to TRAX and still made the 9 at 900 South (as long as it takes TRAX to go through downtown, it takes the 200 even longer), though I was hesitant to recommend such an ambulatory course of action given his mood at the time.

So I didn't say anything.  Given my feelings about unsolicited advice, I was following the Golden Rule.  But now as I write this I'm left wondering, could I have helped this man?

Monday, November 18, 2013

MAP 2.1

When I put Map 2.0 up a short while ago, the ever perspicacious Tim suggested a subtle edit to reflect the current state of affairs in the TRAX system:


While this amused me to no end, I should note that I still use Salt Lake Central almost daily, and I still see a whole lotta people pile onto the 2X in the morning.  But it is true that this is the first year since it opened that Salt Lake Central has only had one TRAX line, and that North Temple seems to be where a lot of the cool kids seem to be getting on and off FrontRunner these days (there aren't as many people waiting at Central, but boy those trains are already full when they pull in).

If any of you have gotten it into your heads to send this map to Transit Maps, don't make it this version, please.

Friday, November 15, 2013

TETRIS

I recently heard a bus driver compare driving downtown to playing tetris.

xkcd.com  


I'd say the comparison is apt.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

MAP 2.0

A while ago I made a map.

Today I finished updating it.


I had to change a few things, of course.  It turns out that the streetcar is going to be silver, not yellow.  Which means that the "Silver Line" couldn't be silver, so it had to stay orange for now (since the Internets have not told me what color this line shall be).  But I made it very light orange, so that unsuspecting mapreaders will be less inclined to think that it is actually running, however good an idea that may seem, and however well it ties together the junction between Courthouse, Gallivan Plaza, and Library.  I also changed the description of Route 702 from "inactive" to "proposed" since it is no longer the old University Line as it was on the last map, and since I have seen rumors on UTA's social media that such a line is on the docket as early as next year.  This meant I had to take the Ogden streetcar off, since it too has been proposed but with no sort of definite timeline that I'm aware of.

I had a lengthy philosophical debate (it lasted several Brandenburg Concertos) with myself about whether to include the S-Line stations.  The debate went something like this: the streetcar is not technically part of TRAX or FrontRunner, so should I change the title of the map?  I don't really like calling it "TRAX, FrontRunner, & Streetcar."  Also, if there are going to be Ogden streetcars, and downtown streetcars, and lots of other streetcars, can we really show them all on the map?  No; it would have to be a separate, much more geographical map, and the TRAX/FrontRunner map would have to merely hint at the streetcars' existence for legibility's sake.  In the end I gave in to peer pressure and put them on because it seems like that was what everyone else was doing.  Anyway, if other streetcars do come into being, it probably won't be for a little while, so I guess we can keep the S-Line on there for now.

So there you have it.  The map, like its creator, is quite eccentric, but I like it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

THE CRASH (SMELLS)

Buses smell like different things sometimes.

(Click on the orange letters)

(No, they don't spell anything, because it occurred to me that that would be a fun idea after I just finished making all the links and I don't feel like going back and redoing them)

About a month ago I got on the 200 and it smelled like nothing so much as tea tree oil.  It was lovely.  So of course that bus would get in a crash less than a block after I got on it.  A car pulled out of a driveway into a moving 40-foot bus.  I have no explanation for it other than that the bus smelled like tea tree oil, and this upset the laws of physics.

We all trudged off the bus.  Some of us filled out courtesy cards, then we walked around the corner to catch the next 200, which smelled like unwashed yak.

Of course that bus made it all the way to Central without incident.  Fortunately the smell did not linger.

Monday, November 11, 2013

THE SUNSET

No picture could ever do it justice, but I tried three times.

Saturday, 5:15 p.m., from Meadowbrook Station.




Thursday, November 7, 2013

TREASURES FROM THE INTERNET (8)

Tonight's first treasure comes by way of the Twitter, in which we see a victory for happiness and optimism:


There are so many gems here; I'll try to exercise at least some discretion:
  • "Insincerity to save face?"  Do you mean your insincerity to save face?  Or are we calling magnanimity in the face of truculence "insincerity" these days?  That could be indicative of a larger problem in our society . . .
  • "Let's just move on with our lives"?  You started it!
  • I think it's safe to say you have been vanquished by the sheer joyousness of the UTA twitterperson. 

Secondly, I now have incontrovertible proof that Lee Davidson uses Copy-and-Paste to write his "news" stories.  A while ago, the following typo appeared in one of his articles:


  • $2,0126 is not a number.
  • $2,376 - $360 = $2,016.  Clearly you stuck an extra "2" in.  It happens to the best of us.  But this typo still hasn't been corrected, 23 days later, despite the fact that the first ten or so comments on the article made fun of the typos in it.
That was bad enough.  But then the following appeared last week:



You couldn't proofread it the first time.  Then you copied exactly the same text into another article, and you couldn't proofread it the second time, either.  Go ahead, read it.  It's exactly the same between "Such" and "year."  Typo and all.  You should be ashamed of yourself.  You should have been "let go" instead of someone else.  And the editors of the Trib should be red-faced for allowing such drivel to last so long on their pages.  How can I take anything you say seriously when you are clearly trying to coast through your career by taking potshots at an easy government target, potshots that you can't even come up with anew for each article?  I find your lack of initiative detestable--unless it is due to some kind of extreme personal hardship, in which case you should seek help instead of spreading it around in public media.  I find the fact that the haters only appear on your articles utterly suspicious.  I think the only reason you still have your job is because you are blackmailing your co-workers or because your management is utterly incompetent to recognize bad journalism.  I've tried to give you the benefit of the doubt for months, but last week I gave up.  I hope you lose your job; if and when you do, I hear UTA is hiring bus drivers.

**catches breath**

Sorry, that was a bit much.  But it is in response to a bit much.  Here's a little lighter fare to finish off the night.  Did you know that Bitstrips has a whole page dedicated to "Commute?"

Not that I've ever done that.  Looked for them, I mean.




Of course, there's no bus stop with a shelter anywhere near my house.

I've never actually made it quite that far.

Monday, November 4, 2013

SOMEONE IS HAVING A WORSE DAY THAN YOU

So this one time FrontRunner was late.

(Okay, it was a lot of times)

When I got to the FrontRunner platform on the way to work, I was met by a man in an orange vest who told me that FrontRunner was dead to us that morning and I should turn around and walk back to the TRAX platform and catch TRAX back the way I had come.

(I checked Twitter and, sure enough, there was a note about it.  Why does it never occur to me to check Twitter BEFORE I get on TRAX going the wrong way?)

Along with several other people, I caught TRAX and patiently rode it all the way to Salt Lake Central.  As we were getting off the train, a fellow several years my junior asked me: "Is that the train going north?"

There were two trains at the FrontRunner platform, and he was referring to the one on the northbound side, so I said, "Yes."

As I walked away from the station I saw him get on the train.  The train doors closed and, to my horror, I watched the train head south out of the station, the way we had just come.

(Dude, whoever you are, I am so sorry.  I really did think it was the northbound train.)

I was a little late for work.  I don't know what eventually happened to him.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Ten years ago today I was calmly sitting on the 822 on my way to school, reading.  We got to the Gold's Gym on 9th East and about

3,412,654,098,740,654,096

people got on, because BYU passes were free at that time.  This happened every day, so nobody really thought much of it.

Then, as we were coming down the hill into the Wilkinson Center stop that no longer exists, the bus driver had to slam on the brakes for something.  I don't think I knew at the time, and I certainly don't know now.  The 3,412,654,098,740,654,058 people on the bus who were standing (minus 38 seats) all came dangerously close to toppling over; I think a couple of them actually did, but I couldn't see through the masses of people around me.

The bus driver cracked, "I did that on purpose!"

Someone in the back shouted, "Happy Halloween!"

That is the greeting I pass on to you tonight.  Not just any "Happy Halloween;" that one.

Monday, October 28, 2013

WHICH BUS DOES SHELDON TAKE?


A while ago commutergirl and I were watching one of the few TV shows we watch

reddit

wikia

fanpop
when it suddenly occurred to me that I didn't know which bus Sheldon took.  So I looked it up.

cityofpasadena.net
It appears that Sheldon takes route 20 from home to work and back.  The route is a loop but it runs both directions from 6:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.  It takes about 25 minutes one way.  Bus fare in Pasadena is only $0.75!

modified from cityofpasadena.net


I don't need to tell you what commutergirl said when I showed her this.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

LUGGAGE DAY INDEED

Holy crap.

If you look closely, you can see two missionaries guarding the luggage.